AUSTIN (KXAN) — Members of the Asian-American community say the Atlanta attacks and rhetoric around the coronavirus underscore fears they’ve become targets for hate.

“People are obviously very deeply saddened about this,” said Hailey Easley. “I think some of us are very angry.”

Easley is executive director of the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative.

“A lot of us are feeling fear to do just our day-to-day tasks,” she said.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the City of Austin’s Equity Office says it has seen a surge of anti-Asian racism locally.

We became curious when we saw this page on the city’s website to report these types of incidents, but the city now says there was a lack of a response. Easley told KXAN there has been an increase in anecdotal reports of racism against people of Asian descent, but some people may be less likely to make a report. She said their English may be limited or they may not know who to call, for example.

As for incidents investigated as hate crimes, we looked through Austin Police Department data.
In 2019, there were 12 reports. In 2020, that number increased to 33 reports. This year, there has been one report so far.

Over the three years, however, none of the victims in those reports involved Asian Austinites.

The Austin Asian Community Health Initiative and the city are now directing individuals to use the national reporting form at the website “Stop Asian American Pacific Islanders Hate.”

The data from AAPI is a little more concrete. Last year, Stop AAPI Hate received more than 70 reports of anti-Asian American hate in Texas. Eighteen of those were in Austin.

Easley says AACHI is partnering with the Austin Behavioral Health Network to create a database of Asian-American therapists. It also plans to create more educational events and strategies for working with these communities.

Easley added stopping this behavior is a community effort.

“I would like to see more bystander interventions,” she said. “I think that would make Asian Americans feel really supported and just a little safer in the community.”